Verein Berliner Künstler / Berlin Artist Association
Haus der Künstler – more than a gallery
The Verein Berliner Künstler (VBK) is a self-governing association of professionally active artists.
It has been committed to the Berlin art scene and its artists for more than 175 years.
The basis for the creative development of the association's activities is the active participation
of the individual members and their agreement to work together in a professional and collegial manner,
to lead discursive and fair discussions as well as to participate in socially relevant discourses.
The 'Haus am Schöneberger Ufer' is the heart of the association and center of activities. Here, the
gallery space not only offers independent and diverse exhibition possibilities, but within the scope
of the Arts Club Berlin an open, discursive forum with guest lectures for members and art lovers alike.
The VBK promotes and supports its members in their professional work and artistic projects as well as
in the development of cooperation with national and international artist associations and art
institutions and their impact within the context of the VBK's goals.
The association receives no institutional funding. The members of the VBK work voluntarily. Exhibition concepts and project work are developed essentially independently of any market trends or percuniary orientation. The resulting freedom the gallery enjoys enables the VBK to develop creative experimental forms of presentation.
The VBK is not affiliated with any political movement or party.
Due to its own extensive artistic archive and an inventory outsourced to the Akademie der Künste Berlin, the VBK can boast a rich historic documentation of artwork dating back to its founding in 1841 to the present day.
The organization of artists under the umbrella of the VBK promotes their professional and collegial collaboration. Its activities continuously sustain the future viability and relevance of the VBK within the Berlin cultural landscape.
The Verein Berliner Künstler is an on-going project and is as such the oldest active artist association in Germany and Europe.
Since its founding over 1500 artists have shaped and further developed the Verein Berliner Künstler. Artists of various generations have reflected upon their production conditions, the shifting artistic positions over different eras and opportunities for self-marketing. All this while, they have had to navigate the changing political and socio-cultural conditions, the volatile laws of the art market and the current development of new media.
According to present-day understanding, every artist is first and foremost a producer and manager of their own work. The VBK provides a platform beyond this; artists here work together to develop artistic concepts and programs that contribute to the public image within the community. Representing an association of self-organized professional artists, the VBK epitomizes an institution which acts as a forum, impulse generator and contributor to Berlin's cultural life while transforming focal points over the course of time.
The VBK takes pride in promoting multi-generational projects.
While there is no age requirement for membership, the vast majority of artists in the VBK are between the ages of 35 and 60 years. Whereas there are no restrictions, few artists decide to apply immediately after graduation while older artists are encouraged to stay. Currently a mixture of 120 artists comprise the VBK, having diverse culturalbackgrounds. Most are from Berlin and other regions of Germany, but international artists residing in Berlin also make up a large proportion. Half the membership structure today consists of active artists.
The VBK runs the gallery and promotes cultural work and public relations. The VBK is located within an urban context on the Schoeneberger Ufer in Berlin Tiergarten-Mitte near Potsdamer Strasse. It is therefore directly positioned between a diverse museum quarter and cultural venues such as Neue Nationalgalerie, Kulturforum, Staatsbibliothek and a very lively contemporary art gallery landscape including project spaces.
The 'Galerie Verein Berliner Künstler' stages eight to ten conceptual and thematical exhibitions each year, displaying works of members and guests from Germany and abroad. The gallery also provides the spatial framework for communication and events, for lectures and discourse with the public. Current social, political and cultural issues make their way into topics and concepts of the exhibitions and projects. These address regional, supra-regional and global political and socio-cultural concerns - questions of the positioning of artists in times of technical and digital developments as well as the responsibility, role and location of the artist in our community in particular and in society in general. Further reflections are developed and published by the VBK.
Since 2006 cooperation and exchange projects with primarily European artist associations and cultural institutions have been developed and realized with the aim of getting to know the living and working conditions of fellow artists in other European countries and, at the same time, building artist networks. Also, cooperations beyond Europe have been carried out with South Korea (Yang Pyeon), USA (Miami), Israel (Haifa) and Azerbaijan (Baku). Since 2012, 45 events have been reflected on and discussed in the ARTS CLUB BERLIN (ACB), a joint project of the VBK, on current developments, concepts and forms of practice in contemporary art. With an invitation from the VBK, teams of curators, artists and academics direct the program of the ACB, while allowing various contributions from the public. This controlled but diverse interaction between various domains defines its conceptual direction with an equal emphasis on an international audience as well as a focus on the locality of Berlin.
What does artistic practice look like today? What are the contexts and implications? Which pressing topics and living conditions effect the artists and are implemented in their works?
Questions such as these aspire public lectures and discussions with international artists, curators and representatives of non-artistic fields to contextualize contemporary concepts of artistic practice within political, social and economic environments. The ACB / open club enables such short-term, temporary presentation and reflection of different forms of artistic practice and the conditions of producing art in general.